Jackson Hole Writers turns the page on 2020 with a workshop-packed winter.
The valley nonprofit — whose mission is to support and expand the literary community in Jackson by “providing unique educational programming, professional training and creative impetus to writers” — welcomes four published authors of varied genres to help area writers fashion well-rounded and believable characters, assemble coherent and cohesive stories, and plumb personal experiences for inspiration, ideas and a sense of intimacy and immediacy.
Katherine Standefer, author of “Lightning Flowers,” a memoir about heart and health, starts the series at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with a repeat of her December workshop, “Writing Into Big Questions.”
“How do the big questions of our time — from climate change to racism — inhabit the stories of our lives? And what does it look like on the page to tell exquisitely personal stories in ways that gesture toward larger concerns?” JH Writers asks on its website. Standefer will help writers “uncover some of the big questions buried in their own narratives, identify research paths that might amplify the intersection between the Self and the World, connect with their own potentially transformative obsessions and explore how the stories we choose to tell can change us.” Cost is $25.
In February, Sheryl Haft, author of four books for young readers, including the Amazon Bestseller, “Goodnight Bubbala — A Joyful Parody,” will lead a two-day workshop on “Writing Authentic Characters and Stories With Heart.” She will “apply lessons from beloved children’s books and Pixar’s ‘The Art of Storytelling’ to encourage greater character depth and emotion in your writing,” JHWriters.org says. “A deep dive into mentor texts will shine light on structure and character building. In-workshop exercises will give writers opportunities to discover the strengths of their characters and the heart in their stories.”
Cost is $40 for two one-hour gatherings, 6-7 p.m. Feb. 4 and 10-11 a.m. Feb. 6.
John Rember — author of three books of short stories, a memoir, a why-to-write book and an end-of-the-world book, a plague-year journal he maintains on his website, JohnRember.com — will work with writers on actual writing samples submitted 10 days in advance of his Feb. 9 event, to teach “Writing Stories that Readers Will Want to Read.”
Participants will send an unpublished 1,000- to 1,200-word narrative or narrative excerpt to Jackson Hole Writers — something with issues or problems the writer still hasn’t solved — for Rember to read and critique. Then, in an hour of craft talk, Rember and classmates will help writers address common issues — ultimately serving as an articulate advocate for readers. A 30-minute Q&A discussion will follow.
Cost is $25. Workshop is limited to 12 participants.
Rounding out the quartet of events, Thomas Kneeland, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Kneeland Center for Poetry Inc., leads “Pandemic Poetry: Unpacking the Discomfort” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 25.
“We’re almost a year into the pandemic and some of us are tired,” Kneeland writes of the workshop. “Even in the midst of mental, physical and emotional fatigue, there is a light that shines in all of us, waiting to melt through the layers of permafrost we’ve accumulated over the past 12 months.”
Kneeland will help writers “melt through those layers with the penetrating force of poetry, create an atmosphere of resilience for those who may not have the strength to do so, and effectively use adversity to shift mindset.” All that — for $15.
Also, JH Writers reminds Jackson Hole’s literati of its 2021 Writer’s Conference, an all-virtual affair this year.
“Have you always wanted to attend the Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference, but couldn’t afford to spend the time away from family or pile up debt with airline tickets and hotel rooms?” JH Writers asked
This year’s conference, the 30th annual, will offer even more opportunity for writers, organizers promise. “We will be recording all conference events, and participants will be able to access them on our website post-conference. So you no longer have to worry about missing one session for another. Take it all in!”
Go to JH Writers.org for information or to register for winter workshops. ￼